Need a New Car? Why More Seniors Are Going Electric
There’s never been a better time to buy an electric vehicle (EV). Prices are at an all-time low, and the technology has improved. In states like California, there are plenty of charging stations to keep you powered up and on the move. And, since Tesla has been joined by traditional automakers like Volkswagen and GM, there’s now a wider variety of makes and models for you to choose from.
What should seniors consider before purchasing an EV?
From smart safety features to cost savings (and the benefit of going green for the planet!), an EV can be a savvy choice for seniors. Before considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, ask yourself these questions:
1. How much do you drive?
When considering a move from a gasoline-powered vehicle to electric, first think about your daily driving habits. Every EV has a maximum number of driving miles on a full charge, typically somewhere between 110 and 300 miles. If you often drive long distances or to remote areas, an EV may not work for your lifestyle. But for most casual city drivers, today’s electric cars have more than enough range to get you where you want to go.
2. Is the electricity at your home sufficient for charging?
While there are thousands of charging stations across the country, you’ll definitely want the ability to charge your EV at home. The capability of your home’s electrical system is another important point to factor into your decision.
Of course, EVs can be plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, but the car will charge slower, adding only about four miles of range per hour. Upgrade to a 240-volt outlet, and you’ll be able to charge at a much faster rate—around 25 range miles per hour. Obviously, faster charging is preferable, but not always possible depending on your home. Be advised, if you want to upgrade your power outlet, you’ll likely need to hire an electrician!
3. Will you want to continue driving as you get older?
No one wants to be dependent on others for getting to the doctor, running out to the store or even just taking a drive around town. The self-driving features of EVs make them an excellent option for seniors. Since these cars can drive themselves, there’s much less work and stress around driving. Plus, if you learn how to operate these auto-pilot programs now, you may be able to extend your driving independence later in life. This can be a great benefit for seniors who want to maintain mobility into their later years.
4. Are you looking for ways to reduce monthly spending?
Even if you ignore all the other benefits, the dynamic price of gas makes EVs an attractive choice. Because EVs run entirely on electricity, you’ll never pay another cent at the pump to get where you’re going. Do note, though, that electricity rates differ depending on the state you live in. You don’t want to simply transfer the gasoline savings to a higher electric bill. So, first research the electricity rates and tiers in your area. Then, calculate the estimated kilowatt hours (kWh) an EV will add to your monthly bill. This information can help you predict whether or not an EV will reduce your monthly spending.
5. Would you like a government rebate?
Because gas-run vehicles are known to be harmful to the environment, there are some federal and state monetary incentives available to encourage electric car buying. The federal government currently offers a $7,500 tax rebate if you purchase a new EV. To find the savings, rebates and regulations available in your state, a searchable database provided by the U.S. Department of Energy is available. A more expansive incentive program will be rolled out soon, so keep an eye out for updates to the current savings opportunities.
Switching to an EV can be a small, but important, way to make a positive impact on the environment—while saving money and potentially taking advantage of new technologies to maintain your independence!
For assistance with your Medicare insurance needs, contact My Senior Health Plan at 877.255.6273.
image credit: shutterstock/Daisy Daisy